A 350-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Apartment with Vintage Charm

A 350-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Apartment with Vintage Charm

Melanie Rieders
Feb 17, 2018

Name: Sarah and Dan
Location: Fort Greene — Brooklyn, New York
Size: 350 square feet
Years lived in: Renting 4.5 years

Sarah and Dan live in a beautifully preserved brownstone apartment in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. The pre-war space features an abundance of architectural charm, like high ceilings, a floral ceiling medallion, and a gorgeous fireplace. The couple describes their style as modern and minimal, but above all, they value comfort.

Though this place is teeny, Sarah and Dan love having friends over. It may seem counter intuitive in so little square feet, but they make it work. "It's about being flexible. Plus, I don't mind sitting on the floor if I need to," Sarah said. The lofted bed area also helps make the most of their small space. "It's annoying because sometimes we bump our head on the ceiling, but it's totally worth it."

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern minimalist wannabe. The key is comfort though; my space has to be comfy and livable. Spilling must be allowed.

Inspiration: Apartment Therapy gives me a chance to see how everyone else puts their own personal style to work. My Bay Area roots are also a huge influence. Sarah Sherman Samuel has an amazing eye for design. My smart and creative friends are always kind when I copy them.

Favorite Element: I am very thankful for the lofted area that fits our bed; it really makes studio living doable. We cook often and are able to have our friends over all the time. Even though I do wish for a bedroom someday, living here is totally worth smacking my head on the ceiling from time to time.

Biggest Challenge: I think the obvious is how small the space is, but after a while it forced me to figure out my own personal style. I tend to like anything that is pretty but if I'm not thoughtful, things will feel cluttered since we live in one big room. Finding a style that feels good to not just one person — but to two people — has been a fun challenge!

What Friends Say: The details that are original to the building (the giant mirror above the fireplace, moldings, and ceiling medallion) are wonderful!

Biggest Embarrassment: I have a serious problem keeping the space tidy (Dan is much better at that). Since we don't have much storage, everything has its place. Once one thing isn't where it belongs, the disarray quickly snowballs. I'm working on it!

Proudest DIY: I always have some sort of DIY project happening since I'm pretty handy but at the moment I'm really happy with the grid wall in the kitchen area. I spotted removable grid wallpaper that was beautiful but out of my price range. I took a chance with super thin washi tape and am surprised by how much I like the imperfect lines.

Biggest Indulgence: Our couch. After looking at maybe one thousand couches, we found "the one." Now that I've looked at so many I realize it's not crazy expensive compared to what's out there but it definitely was a big commitment for us. Spending Sundays drinking coffee in our sweats, sprawled out on it certainly feels indulgent too.

Best Advice: If you have an idea for something and run into a roadblock, don't quit! Start researching alternatives even if it's not the perfect idea you originally had. That's where you'll design your creative solution and you'll end up loving it. If you don't like a certain aspect of your space there almost always is a solution out there.

Dream Sources: The Citizenry, The Alameda Antiques Faire, and in my own dream world the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.


Bathroom — Ralph Lauren Polo Green

Floating Magnetic Shelf — Plank
Felt Hamper – West Elm
Linear Shag Area Rug - Target
Bar Cart – American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in Oakland
Map Art — Mapiful
Picnic with Friends Art — Jonathan Stagnaro
Pulp Fiction Muppets Art — Jonathan Stagnaro
Light switch Plate – Hippo Hardware
Mirror – Gift from neighbor

Urban Sofa — West Elm
Holmsel Chair — IKEA (From the as-is section)
Vigdis Cushion Covers — IKEA
Emerald Velvet Pillow – World Market
Striped Pillow – Jill Lindsay
Bookshelf – Bed Bath and Beyond
Brass Ammo Shell Vase – Chattle Changers Milwaukee
Emerald Harbin Accent Table – World Market
Storage Drum Accent Table Gold - Target
Floor Lamp – Target
Ranarp Clamp Lamps — Ikea
"Texture Gate" Art – Attalie Dexter
Lucite Coffee Table – Craigslist
Marble Tray — Target
Coasters – Oaklandish
Quad Vase – Gift from Grandmother
Rug – Craigslist
Bike Storage — Cycloc
Plant Stand – Ikea
Midcentury Modern Dresser – At 1st Site
Carlson II White Tower – CB2
Tarva 5 Drawer Dresser – Ikea
Brushed Brass Whistle Knob — Etsy
DIY Storage Stool – Painted with Ralf Lauren Polo Green – Reupholstered with samples of Ellie Cashman Dark Floral on Velvet
Tension Rod Plant Stand – Ikea
Plants – Fort Greene Farmers Market, Natty Garden, Botanica Garden Center, Gardel's Garden

Belmont Kitchen Island – Crate & Barrel
Metal Counter Stools - Overstock
Cabinet Pulls – Lewis Dolin
Dish Rack – CB2
Storage Boxes above Cabinets - Ikea
"Summer Bounty" Art – Debbie Carlos
Oval Rug – Rugs USA
Wine Rack - Ikea
Candle Sticks on Fireplace – Target, CB2 (and this), Zara Home, Feliz

Vintage Suitcase – Etsy
Quilted Storage Box – CB2
Wall Shelf – Marble Tile from Home Depot and Brass Bracket
Tarva Dresser – Ikea
Hex Knobs – CB2
Rug – Rugs USA
Mattress – Tuft and Needle
Woven Basket – Brooklyn Flea

Paint Color – Ralph Lauren Polo Green
Shelves – The Container Store
Sea Grass Basket – The Container Store
Knobs and Hand Towel Hook – Anthropologie
Shower Curtain – CB2
Bath Mat — Anthropologie

Thanks, Sarah and Dan!

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